Ranma brought his hand to his side, testing it tenderly for any sign of blood. This was a challenge that may have been far out of his league, as much as he would never admit it. His opponent stood at the other end of the decimated forest, standing smugly with his arms folded; watching the pigtailed boy almost like a scientist observing a specimen. The only thing that spoiled that expression was the slight hint of satisfaction.

"You are indeed the one I have been looking for, young one," The demon praised in a voice that was as big as the earth itself, and as empty and broad as the vastness of space, "Few have ever troubled me to such... exertions."

Ranma barely had any breath, and chose to save it for defeating his opponent. Ranma's mind raced through potential stratagies to utilize against his opponent, considering very desperate measures. His father's Senken techniques had proven ineffective, as his opponent regenerated from the cuts is vacuum blades caused, and he seemed to know where Ranma was at all times, regardless how deep in the Umisenken he was. The Amaguriken was worthless, as he pounded and pounded on the demon's hide, feeling bone break, flesh pulp and tear, only to reheal with the creature's infinite patience.

He had gone well beyond he had ever before; not because Akane was in danger, she was safe in Nerima, as far as he knew. It was just that there was something about the creature before him that screamed of immense evil; Ranma knew the fates were on the scales with this battle, and things were slowly tilting towards dire.

"MOUKU TAKABISHA REVISED;" Ranma shouted, running at the blue demon, who still had his arms folded, "ANGRY TIGER'S POUNCE!" Ranma cupped his hands to his side, and then leapt into the air. His Mouku Takabisha formed in his hands, largest he had ever made it, and trusting that the principles of the Shishi Hakoudan worked the same as his own attack, pulled it around his body. As he was descending at immense velocity, Ranma let out a war cry, bringing his right fist back for the strike.

The blue demon smiled, as he dropped his arms out of folding. His own voice began to rumble, rumble so fiercely that the mountains nearby began to shudder. He brought his own massive fist back, and right as the pigtailed martial artist was upon him, thrust it up and forward, as large as the glow around Ranma's body was.

As the two attacks connected, a ring of energy spread out perpendicularly from the point of impact, slicing deep into the earth from its force. Immidiately, Ranma felt himself overwhelmed, but would not allow himself to be felled back, too much more than just his own fate was riding on this. Ranma began to focus, considering his battle with Herb.

The demon became even more impressed than before, truly this human was a jewel far brighter than even he had found in mutantkind. The boy was actually gathering the ambient energy their battle was giving off, and using it to enforce his own attack. The demon should have been angered at the boy's audacity, but decided that two could play at the same game.

Ranma felt the pressure intensify, causing him to worry a great deal. Whoever failed first, would die. Hell, the one who was the victor would probably die, still. The energy buildup between them was getting out of control. Ranma would have to wonder how much of the mid-western Japanese forestland had their fight destroyed.

"My Horse of Chaos," the demon stated with a calmness that belayed the strain he was putting back against Ranma, "You have already exeeded my wildest expectations of your ability, and it grows as this battle progresses. You shall most assuradly make a welcome addition to my Horsemen."

Even with the roaring winds around them, and the sounds of destruction ensuing, as the ground under his opponent buckled and compacted and began to become ripped and broken to dust, Ranma heard him. The demon, was already sure it had won, before Ranma had even accepted the challenge. That enraged Ranma to no end. What increased that raged even moreso was the fact that this creature just wanted him all along! The challenge was a ploy to get him there, away from anyone who could interfere with the fight. Ranma walked right into a trap set directly for his ego and pride. His opponent knew him well.

"YOU TRICKED ME!" Ranma shouted through the turbulance, his energy flaring with his anger. The demon's smile grew even wider.

"Why yes, yes I did."

Ranma's voice became a gutteral growl. No matter what, he would NOT let himself fall prisoner to this damn demon. Ranma's determination combined with his sudden subjection to giving his life in order to do away with the evil thing benieth him. The effect was noted as his red aura began to grow tinges of green in it. The sickly green began to swarm with the red, as if it were oils in a puddle of water, before suddenly flashing into one single blinding flash of white.

Ranma's scream of determination was lost, just as the demon's joyous excaimations were in the raging storm that could be seen all the way to China.

"MAGNIFICENT! HA HA HA HA HAAAA, TRULY MAGNIFICENT!!!" the demon roared, more to himself, since his opponent couldn't hear him. The battle climaxed, as an explosion akin to a nuclear bomb spread from ground zero, where the two fighters were...

In Nerima, Cologne, Genma, Soun, Happosai, Akane, Shampoo, Ryoga, Mousse, Ukyo, Konatsu, Tatewake, Kodachi, Nabiki, Tofu, and Kasumi all *felt* the wave of energy, before the blinding white light washed over them. Once it was gone, most were left in wonder of what it had been, exept for a few. Those few feared for Ranma's life.

Herb shuddered at the feeling of great power to the east. Even to him, more power than he could ever imagine had just ignited in seemingly one, cataclysmic expulsion. Truly a power that caused the Dragon Prince awe was well to be reckoned with.

More than a day's travel away, on a mountain top, a babe with wings dusted in the color of flame and a fiery jewel dawning his forehead, wailed.

In the Northern United States, in a school for those gifted with abilities far beyond their normal kin, a redhead, a bald professor, and a roughened Canadian all paused, feeling a massive surge of energy on both the psychic and physical planes from on nearly the other side of the world.

"What... was that?" The red-headed woman whispered with both fear and awe in her voice.

"What was what?" A lusious looking woman with a comforting Southern accent and a white streak in her hair enquired, asking the question that was also on Remy LeBeu and Storm's mind, as she approached the the redhead and her four visitors.

"A... great... something dangerous," the professor mumbled out, trying to identify himself what could have caused such a devistating power release.

A man with ruby tinted shade almost stumbled from the boat house he shared with his wife on the school property. All present noticed the pale expression on his face. "A nuclear bomb.. larger than anything ever seen yet, just went off in Japan!" He said in almost a whisper

The Canadian's eyes narrowed, as he looked eastwards, "That was no bomb..."
The massive dust cloud caused by the battle began to settle almost an hour later. Japanese officials warned people not to approach the area for fear of nuclear contamination, as they cited what had to be the largest nuclear bomb in world history. Even those encased in radiation suits would be weary to tread to the center of the blast. Even if their reason for concern was wrong, it was a very valid one.

From the thinning dust and debris of pulverized earth and incinerated foliage, stepped the demon with an unconcious, nearly dead body cradled in his arms.

"Ranma Saotome," the evil being began, as if his captive could hear him, "This marks the beginning of your destiny, one that will forever mark the Earth. You have proven yourself among the fittest, possibly moreso than the idealistic mutant fools I have encountered. Today, you have proven yourself worthy to be War, a Horseman of Apocolypse!"

Ranma/ X-Men
Age of the War Horse